Allotment Holders Given Ultimatum By Northumberland Estates

Told rejection of housing plan would mean permanent closure of plots

The Park Road Allotments. Picture: Val Snewin

There has been an angry reaction to a letter sent by a director of Northumberland Estates saying that the Park Road allotments will close forever if its planning application is unsuccessful.

The letter outlines the current status of the application saying that consultation is taking place with officers in relation to housing mix and tenures as well as some design details.

Once these are finalised the application will be presented to Hounslow Council’s planning committee which is expected to consider the matter this summer.

The allotments will close regardless at the end of the growing season with preparation work beginning for the reopening of a new but smaller area for plots if the planning application is approved. However Colin Barnes, a director of Northumberland Estates, has written to the allotment holders saying, “I feel it is unfortunate that a small minority have resorted to the press to raise issues regarding the development. It is not how we would prefer to conduct our business, but if this ultimately leads to the planning application being refused, then the allotments will not re-open and regrettably the opportunity for securing a long-term future for all the allotment holders will be lost. It is not a tenable position to both oppose the scheme and expect a plot on the new development.”

This has prompted an angry reaction from allotment holders who have been opposed to Northumberland Estate’s plans which will see the area given over to allotments considerably reduced in size.

Northumberland Estates argues that revenue from the housing development is essential to ensure Syon Park and Syon House can be properly maintained.

Isleworth ward councillor Salman Shaheen said, “I hope my colleagues on the Planning Committee, when determining this application, will look closely at this letter and the Duke's threats to kick allotment holders off their plots if they do not submit to his demands. And I hope the Duke will withdraw his plans and either look for other avenues to fund Syon House or, at the very least, go back to the negotiating table to speak with allotment holders, not down to them. We need more affordable housing in the borough, but these plans will concrete a patch of paradise that we will lose forever if we agree to them.”

When asked about the apparent ultimatum to allotment holders Mr Barnes said, “Northumberland Estates has made it clear on many occasions that the provision of allotments for the future is reliant upon development of part of the site. The planning proposals provide a fair and reasonable means to achieve this, not only providing new plots which have been offered to every existing allotment holder alongside additional community facilities, but also providing affordable housing which is greatly needed in the area as well as key worker housing also much needed for staff at the adjacent West Middlesex hospital. This offer remains open. Those prepared to look beyond the hype will see that the proposals offer a high quality development which meets both local housing need and provides improved allotments. “

The planning reference is P/2020/4292. You can find further details of the application and make comments by visiting this page.

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June 4, 2021